Special flights are being organized to repatriate to France people stranded in Morocco after the closure of air borders on Sunday evening due to the rapid spread of the new Omicron variant of Covid-19, we learned on Monday from a French diplomatic source.
These flights are subject to "authorization" from the Moroccan authorities, French Ambassador Hélène Le Gal said in a tweet, inviting those concerned to get closer to the companies Air France and Transavia.
They are operational only from Morocco to France, said a French diplomatic source.
Flights with France suspended until further notice
Rabat decided on November 25, before the appearance of the Omicron variant, to suspend regular flights to and from France due to the resurgence of the Covid-19 epidemic in France.
This decision is effective since Sunday midnight and "until further notice".
Morocco has also suspended maritime passenger transport with France since Sunday evening.
Some ferries will however be able to provide connections "if there is a demand" and with the approval of the Moroccan authorities, according to the diplomatic source.
This suspension does not apply to the movement of commercial vehicles intended for the transport of goods and courier services.
These announcements come "in order to preserve Morocco's achievements in the fight against the pandemic and protect the health of citizens", according to the Interministerial Committee for monitoring the pandemic.
France is by far Morocco's leading economic partner.
In addition, more than 1.3 million Moroccans live in France and nearly 80,000 French people live in Morocco.
All direct flights suspended for two weeks
In addition, Rabat announced on Sunday that all direct passenger flights to Morocco were suspended for two weeks starting this Monday at 11:59 p.m.
An assessment of the situation "will be undertaken regularly in order to adjust, if necessary, the necessary measures", according to the Interministerial Monitoring Committee.
As for France, repatriation flights will be scheduled on a case-by-case basis by foreign embassies in coordination with the Moroccan authorities.
Following these announcements, the national company Royal Air Maroc decided to postpone "to a later date" the launch of its first flight between Casablanca, the economic capital of the kingdom, and Tel Aviv, initially scheduled for December 12.
This postponement leads to that of an important mission of the Moroccan employers' union in Israel, scheduled from December 12 to 15 as part of the normalization of relations between Morocco and Israel.
Morocco - where tourism is a key economic sector - has also banned nationals of southern African countries from entering its territory after the Omicron variant has been identified in South Africa.
Coronavirus: Closing the borders to fight against the Omicron variant, a strategy doomed to failure?
Coronavirus: Presence in France, contagiousness, effects of the vaccine… What do we know about the Omicron variant?
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